New recessive mutations in SYT2 causing severe presynaptic congenital myasthenic syndromes

Objective

To report the identification of 2 new homozygous recessive mutations in the synaptotagmin 2 (SYT2) gene as the genetic cause of severe and early presynaptic forms of congenital myasthenic syndromes (CMSs).

Methods

Next-generation sequencing identified new homozygous intronic and frameshift mutations in the SYT2 gene as a likely cause of presynaptic CMS. We describe the clinical and electromyographic patient phenotypes, perform ex vivo splicing analyses to characterize the effect of the intronic mutation on exon splicing, and analyze the functional impact of this variation at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ).

Results

The 2 infants presented a similar clinical phenotype evoking first a congenital myopathy characterized by muscle weakness and hypotonia. Next-generation sequencing allowed to the identification of 1 homozygous intronic mutation c.465+1G>A in patient 1 and another homozygous frameshift mutation c.328_331dup in patient 2, located respectively in the 5′ splice donor site of SYT2 intron 4 and in exon 3. Functional studies of the intronic mutation validated the abolition of the splice donor site of exon 4 leading to its skipping. In-frame skipping of exon 4 that encodes part of the C2A calcium-binding domain of SYT2 is associated with a loss-of-function effect resulting in a decrease of neurotransmitter release and severe pre- and postsynaptic NMJ defects.

Conclusions

This study identifies new homozygous recessive SYT2 mutations as the underlying cause of severe and early presynaptic form of CMS expanding the genetic spectrum of recessive SYT2-related CMS associated with defects in neurotransmitter release.

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